Suzuki Plunges After Report It Is Dissolving China Partnership

(Bloomberg) -- Suzuki Motor Corp. shares tumbled the most in two weeks after a Japanese media report that the company is dissolving its last remaining automaking partnership in China.

Suzuki and Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. will disband their joint venture, with the Japanese company selling its stake to the local manufacturer, Nikkei Business said Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. The process will start upon approval from Chinese authorities and could be completed by year-end, with Changan continuing to make Suzuki-brand vehicles under license, according to the report.

Shares of Suzuki dropped 4.8 percent in Tokyo, the most since Aug. 9.

Suzuki Plunges After Report It Is Dissolving China Partnership

Suzuki spokesman Satoshi Kasukawa declined to comment specifically on the report, but said Suzuki’s stance hasn’t changed and it continues to discuss with Changan about future growth of the partnership. Sales of the Suzuki Changan joint venture declined 27 percent last year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence data.

Japan’s national broadcaster NHK reported in June that Suzuki had started negotiations about ending its quarter-century-old tie-up with Changan. Suzuki denied that at the time, saying it was talking to its Chinese partner about future strategies. Earlier that same month Suzuki dissolved its other Chinese venture, a 23-year-long partnership with Jiangxi Changhe Automobile Co.

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